A Contradiction to Early Discouragement

Several years ago I was in Seattle, Washington, USA, for an Intensive [twenty hours of one-way Re-evaluation Counseling, for a fee, at Re-evaluation Counseling Community Resources]. An early morning walk through the hilly neighborhood near RCCR led me to a place where I could look out over Puget Sound at the mountains in the distance. I had a feeling of awe at the sight of the mountains that was the same as the feeling I have when I look at the night sky when I’m out of the city.

I decided to bring that experience to the Intensive sessions. I don’t have any pre-birth memories, but my mind took me to imagining my first moments of consciousness. I could feel—while discharging heavily—the same feeling of awe at the thought of my first awareness of being alive and “inside” myself. I imagined the wonder of finding myself alive and of being aware of my physical self for the first time. I cried hard imagining feeling my heartbeat, blood flowing through my veins, the first wiggle of a toe. Words don’t adequately describe my impressions of that time, but “wonder,” “awesome,” “amazement,” and “spectacular” come to mind.

I haven’t always remembered to go back and discharge on this, but it has remained a powerful contradiction [to distress].

I have had many opportunities to listen to Tim Jackins say that there is no such thing as present-time discouragement. About a year and a half ago at one of his workshops, I heard something different—that discouragement is a part of an early distress recording that needed to be faced and discharged. Until then I had always thought of it as something to ignore—that I should discharge and move forward in spite of how discouraging and hopeless the old distresses felt.

I decided to see what would happen if I let myself feel “the worst” of the early hurts. It didn’t take long for me to remember the work I had done in Seattle on imagining early consciousness, and that became the reliable and, for a long time, the required place to start any session on early discouragement. In retrospect, I can see that it provided the “balance of attention” my mind needed to begin discharging the discouragement.

I would start most sessions imagining my first moments of awareness then move on to imagining a relatively benign time inside my mom when there was no sense of disconnection, loneliness, or any other trauma.

Almost any time I have let my mind linger on these thoughts, I have been able to start crying quite easily. I can discharge heavy grief imagining that I was born (that I succeeded at coming out into the “breathing world,” as I’ve enjoyed calling it) with an intact sense of life being spectacular, awesome, amazing, and so on.

As sessions have progressed, I have also begun to discharge about the state of the world, and the people around me, that I faced after being born. That appears to have been the beginning of my discouragement. It was also the source of terror and insecurity, which gradually undermined my foundational experience of life. I have been able to discharge heavily at the thought that I began to doubt whether it was really a good thing to be alive and that I only decided to stay alive because the prospect of giving up on my original sense of life was too sad.

I have worked on this story consistently for close to a year and a half. At first I was surprised that I could discharge so readily anytime I decided to, and with almost anyone I counselled with, regardless of the length of the session. I have often felt some initial embarrassment telling my counsellors what I am discharging about. (This seems connected to the religious part of my upbringing. I think the religious world was the only place I ever heard any reference to the awesomeness of life.) Once I have discharged a bit of the embarrassment, I have often been able to discharge deep fear about my well-being and that of others and the world.

It didn’t take long for these sessions to stop feeling like a hardship and for me to start looking forward to continuing the work—almost the way I might look forward to getting back to reading a good book to find out what is next in the story.

I still have much work to do, but I am pleased with the results so far. Over the last year I decided to buy, and am now running, a small company. This has been one of the most significant things I’ve done in my adult years, and there’s no question that moving some of the early discouragement gave me room to make the decision. I am engaged and excited in a way I don’t remember being before, and discharge continues to flow.

Two weeks ago I led an Area weekend workshop. For the Saturday morning class I talked some about my experience working on discouragement and invited everyone to look for their own “moment” that pre-dated the beginning of their discouragement. Many people seemed able to use the suggestion and stay with it throughout the day.


I began writing this last May. Many of my more recent sessions have been about how no one reflected back to me the sense of being alive that I started out with. Some of my deepest disappointment seems to stem from this. I’ve sometimes had a sense of straining with my eyes to try to find someone and communicate my upset to them.

I recently began referring to my first moments of consciousness as “the first time I woke up.” This has been a sweet image for me to hold in my mind.

Phil Rees

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

(Present Time 191, April 2018)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00